Tron: Legacy (2010) and Tron (1982)
The huge rollout and fanfare that accompanied Tron: Legacy on its 2010 release must have been sweet vindication for Disney, whose landmark Tron of 28 years earlier earned more critical admiration and cult fawning than the box-office earnings it so deserved. Think of it as a man, in Tron, ahead of time on every level; Jeff Bridges’ software renegade Kevin Flynn sets out for (or slipped within, as these programs go) a perilous speed-ride through a seemingly limitless virtual world of light and line in order to stop technology mavens from bringing down both sides of the Cold War to gain a stranglehold on earthly control. Despite the groundbreaking and still-eyepopping graphics, Tron failed to catch on big – maybe because its intended audience was both dealing with the time’s realities during that Cold War, and the fact that computers had yet to become common household objects.
Fast-forward to 2010, and Flynn’s son Sam is beckoned into The Grid in what becomes a pursuit of and vengeance for his disappeared father. Though Tron: Legacy was just as visually stunning as its predecessor (and managed to take in a whopping $400 million at the box office), something was missing: mainly, outside of a rogue appearance by Bridges and a delicious cameo by Michael Sheen as a space-age, sleazy nightclub impresario, interesting characters. But the sequel did have a real gem in the mix: The soundtrack by Daft Punk is a must-have.